Heidegger and Modern Technology: the Setup, the Danger, and the Saving Power

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Heidegger and Modern Technology: The Setup, the Danger, and the Saving Power INTRODUCTION Heidegger’s key essay to unlocking his view on our current situation, “The Question Concerning Technology,” was not translated into English until a mere 30 years ago, a fact that appears to have primarily served to increase the debate and misunderstanding concerning precisely what Heidegger suggests be done in order to establish a liberating relationship to modern technology and its seeming hegemony over our lives. Many (e.g., Ihde, 1979; Wright, 1984; Wolin, 1990) read Heidegger as suggesting a turn towards art as the only refuge or rescue from the dangers that abound in our modern technological era. Richard Wolin for one, in his 1990 book entitled The Politics of Being: The Political Thought of Martin Heidegger, claims that it is “Heidegger's solution [...] to dwell poetically” (Wolin, 1990, p. 167), as he inaccurately accuses Heidegger of following the “well-worn path already trod by the German romantics” (Wolin, 1990, p.166) in stating that Heidegger abstractly counterposes a poetic transcendence to overcome our modern world entrained by the rules of technical reason (Wolin, 1990, pp. 166-7). But Heidegger suggests no such turning back, no retreat into a poetic realm from our current technological stance, as technology itself is something that “will not be struck down; and it most certainly will not be destroyed” (Heidegger, 1977d, p. 38) by any means. As Heidegger notes in his “The Age of the World Picture”: “The flight into tradition ... can bring about nothing in itself other than self-deception and blindness in relation to the historical moment” (Heidegger, 1977a, p. 136) It is simply not Heidegger's intention to flee our modern age, as he understands all too well that we cannot leave technology, there is no turning back to better pre-technological

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